EU Space Law: our Insights and Commitment
This article is presented by Anywaves, the European space antenna equipment and a founding member of YEESS, the Young European Enterprises Syndicate for Space. This document is authored and presented in the context of Dr. Nicolas Capet‘s activities, CEO of Anywaves and Vice President of YEESS, within the European Commission as an invited member on the European Space Law project, alongside EuroSpace , ESRE and SME4Space.
The information provided here is shared for informational purposes and reflects solely the views of Nicolas Capet; it does not bind the Commission, or any other stakeholders involved in the project.
European Space Law Project: Foundations and Perspectives
The European Space Law project, commonly known as “EU Space Law,” is built upon three pillars:
This pillar addresses the security of both space infrastructure and data, whether in orbit or on the ground. The goal is to physically or digitally secure every space system to guard against attacks, be they physical or cyber, potentially affecting the spatial ecosystem and its users economically, industrially, or physically.
This aspect focuses on space orbits and their preservation, emphasizing the need for international coordination to prevent accidents and the accumulation of space debris. It aims to protect and preserve orbits and, consequently, all space-related activities. This necessitates technical solutions, international organization, and incentive measures to encourage the active involvement and coexistence of each stakeholder.
In most industries, regulations improve based on lessons learned from accidents, as seen in aviation. In the realm of space, waiting for an accident to occur before acting is not an option. Platforms and other space equipment must be “safe by design,” and space traffic management must be rigorous to prevent collision risks. Achieving this goal requires the deployment of space traffic management measures by both institutions, creating management bodies, and by industrial players offering solutions that meet various regulatory requirements.
Perceptions, Expectations, and Suggestions of SMEs and Young Actors in the Space Industry and SMEs
The European Space Law project is perceived as a catalyst for innovation, a booster for our space economy. It presents a real opportunity to develop a unique and competitive market in Europe, capturing the attention and interest of young, small, and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aspiring to be competitive. This law will strengthen and stabilize the market, providing structure and longevity, reducing risks, and attracting more investors—crucial for market growth, accelerating development, and financing projects in series B or C.
However, expectations for this project are numerous:
- We call for clear and understandable rules with a schedule and implementation modalities considering the practical reality of each involved actor.
- We have identified the need for institutional support to help SMEs reach the standards set by future regulations, both in terms of human resources and finances. This support should include access to experts or mentors and financial assistance, acknowledging the varying capabilities of enterprises.
- We invite legislators to rely as much as possible on existing rules and standards (such as EN 9100 for quality issues or ISO 27001 regarding cybersecurity) to gain efficiency, save time and expenses, and benefit from direct access to expertise in areas beyond space.
- We advocate for collaborative legislation between member states and industry, emphasizing the importance of operational and economic reality for SMEs in the implementation and application of the law.
Regarding the project timeline, a preliminary draft is expected in March 2024, with subsequent iterations to refine and clarify details. The implementation approach should be pragmatic, addressing each issue and adapting to different layers of the industrial fabric, considering feedback, legacies, and available resources.
Given the global nature of the “playing field,” it is crucial for this law to bring market coherence across the entire European territory, involving all players, whether European or not. Considering the global economy, a reflection beyond European borders, in coordination with partners such as the United States, is essential to engage the entire space industry. Future rules should closely align with those adopted by the United States to ensure not only European competitiveness but global competitiveness.
In conclusion, this law is a genuine assurance for a more sustainable and profitable space industry, economically and societally. The sovereign and economic interests it encompasses make it a major stake for the industry, the market’s sustainability, and the future of involved actors.
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